The Travail of Traveling Abroad

29 Mar

It’s departure day, Friday, March 25, and our long-awaited trip to France is about to begin. We arrive at Dulles with our navy and silver Education First (EF) backpacks, excited but subdued. The violence in Belgium just days ago hovers. The exuberance of the youth I’m accompanying, however, quickly overcomes any pallor and my excitement rises. Delta whisks us from Dulles to JFK to begin the five-hour layover for our flight to Paris. My always-hungry adolescents make multiple trips down the interminable airport hallways in search of their next round of Panda Express, Shake Shack and Jamba Juice, despite my reminders that we’ll have dinner and breakfast on our flight.

While my charges explore, I stay put to watch a blood red sunset to the west. “It’s a beach sunset,” declares an adorable French youngster, face pressed against the terminal window. I’m grateful for his mellifluous chatter that readies my ear for the nine days of French to come.

We board the 767 and my Tylenol PM kicking in, I can’t wait to pass out for seven hours on my travel pillow, under a red felt blanket. My students are of a different mind. “OMG! Mockingjay!” “They have The Walking Dead. I can’t believe it!” “Look at all these movies!” “Are they FREE, Madame Bohr?” “I am so binge-watching all night!”

So much for my entreaties to get some sleep.

“You’ll all be walking zombies yourselves tomorrow morning,” I lament. Full bellies notwithstanding, they speculate about what’s for dinner and plan their watching strategies.

An overnight flight between us and the exuberance of the evening’s departure, I awaken semi-refreshed to glum faces, tussled hair and bleary eyes. We snake for well over two hours through the post-Brussels passport control maze at Charles de Gaulle and then finally, after spying and retrieving a temporarily lost suitcase that has inexplicably landed in a pile of unclaimed bags, exit the confines of the terminal for our entry into France.

Amid some moans, groans and yawns, I remind my fellow travelers that the English word travel comes from the French word travail. Work. Yes, travel can sometimes be a lot of work.


Posted by on March 29, 2016 in France, Passion for French, Travel


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6 responses to “The Travail of Traveling Abroad

  1. Cecilia Op de Bekr

    March 29, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Ha. I look forward to more installments. I admire your energy. Then I remember we travelled with our own student group-our children. But they were seasoned travelers and ours. Good luck. While a lot of work for you, must be fun to experience their reactions.

    We are in NL visiting in laws. Mostly elderly in laws. Last night at dessert an uncle said, we haven’t talked about Trump yet and my mother in law didn’t miss a beat: He has small hands. (I’m still laughing. ) C

    Sent from my iPhone



    • mcbohr

      April 2, 2016 at 5:33 am

      Smart mother in law you have! And funny too. Yes, we do each have our own youth group. Sitting in Schipol airport for our flight home. Exhausted! Have had very little internet time over the past week, save a few minutes to post my blogs. Save travels back to VA.


  2. Dawn Rella

    March 29, 2016 at 9:20 am

    You writing makes me feel like I am on the trip with you…such a gift! Hope your trip is fabulous!


  3. Carrellas

    March 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Loved reading this!! Especially the last part, read that aloud to my colleagues! Have an amazing time!


  4. Carole Bumpus

    March 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Delightful, Marianne. Bon Voyage!!


  5. bernard stefanek

    March 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Marianne, J’admire votre courage! Amusez-vous bien!



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